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Lecture 9

PSYC12H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Terror Management Theory, Ageism, Gender Role

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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PSYC12 Lec 9
Prejudice from perceivers and targets for the elderly and women
o Stereotyping based on age usually based on the elderly, but can also occur for
o Effect of holding stereotypes as young people will affect us when we get older
Sexism discrimination based on sex, gender
o Hostile sexism
o The people who most endorse ambivalent sexism support more inequality
between men and women
Student saying older lawyer might have Alzheimer‟s shows stereotypes about elderly
o A group we are more okay with expressing stereotypes about
Do this with obese people also
o Definition: stereotypes, prejudice & discrimination based on age
Facets of Ageism
o Some people have argued that with teenagers in our society are probably victims
of ageism somewhere in that age, they are physical mature, mostly mentally
mature, yet there are rules that are discriminatory:
Can‟t drink, drive before a certain age
Rules applied to them and not others
o Why is it important?
Elderly population will double by 2030 many people will live longer,
baby boomers just turned around 65 and are going to be senior citizen
Society will have to make huge changes to accommodate this group
Attitudes towards elderly affects them too
o Only normative group where eventually what was formally the in-group becomes
the out-group
Ideas we have about the elderly may affect us when we turn that age
Really the only group this happens with
What form does it take?
o Patronizing language
Baby talk, overaccomodation, speaking loud, being overly polite
o Patronizing behaviour
Infantalization, condescending treatment and assumption of physical and
mental deterioration
E.g. being around 70 but looking a bit older than you are, you work out,
etc. and a 10 year old grabs your hand to help you cross the street
Makes a person feel older than they are
Speaking to them and treating them differently makes them feel
like they are not capable
Perdue & Gurtman, 1990
o Asked: do people have negative association to elderly? Are they
o Method: evaluative priming task

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Gave people a prime the word “old” vs. “young” (55ms)
Then saw words that were positive or negative after seeing the prime
Told to categorize as positive or negative as fast as possible
o Evaluative priming task
People see the world old for 55ms + word “selfish” then look at reaction
time to categorize as bad
“young” + “selfish”
When young people see old + selfish, easier to categorize as selfish
o Results:
Reaction time to pos/neg traits as a function of the priming word
See that with old, there are NO differences in categorizing neg/pos traits
With the word young, negative traits take longer to categorize and positive
traits are faster to be categorized
See not so much evidence of out-group derogation but more evidence of
in-group favoritism “in-group love”
Young people doing this tend to associate “young” with positive traits
o Negative words are more associated with old than young positive words less
associated with old than young
o BUT:
Is this out-group bias? No. more about in-group love
What does this have to do with people? Old could be lots of things old
shoes, old cars, etc.
With “old”, is not a descriptor
I-clicker: which of the following are problems with the Gurtman et al. study on implicit
attitude towards the elderly?
a) The authors did not measure explicit attitudes
b) The results showed in-group bias
c) Results may not generalize to social evaluations
d) The authors measured implicit attitudes
e) The authors didn‟t thank God in their acknowledgments
- Ans: c but both b and c are correct
- Not a good test question
Origins of ageism
o Societal age grading
Have grades elementary, high school
Young people pay less for buses, movies makes age salient brings to
awareness that some people are older and some are younger
o Dominance of youth culture
People mostly try to appeal to demographic: 18-30
Companies want to capture these people because they are young,
not married, have money. Therefore, they try to appeal to the
young people only
Gives the idea that young people are the ideal
o Media
Very acceptable to make fun of old people in our culture
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